Friday, September 21, 2018
Public safety

Pasco couple recalls previous encounter with movie theater shooter

WESLEY CHAPEL — Michael and Jamira Dixon stood in front of their house under glaring television camera lights Wednesday night and went over their story one more time.

Yes, they had a previous encounter in a movie theater with the man accused of killing another over texting and flying popcorn. Yes, they were sure it was him. No doubts.

"I told myself, 'I have to remember what his face looked like,' " Jamira Dixon, 33, said, "just in case I have to tell someone."

She would.

Three days ago, Curtis Reeves Jr., 71, became the most recognizable ex-Tampa cop in the country for pulling out his .380 in a movie theater and, according to reports, firing it at a man named Chad Oulson after a dispute over texting. Oulson was killed.

The day after, Reeves made his first appearance in court. The prosecutor, while arguing that Reeves should not be granted bail, named Jamira Dixon as someone who had a previous confrontation with Reeves in the same movie theater complex.

When Jamira Dixon returned home from work that night, reporters were camped outside her house. She and her husband told their story, adding to a tragic narrative that has gained worldwide attention.

On Wednesday, more reporters, including national media, wanted to interview the Dixons.

By the time Jamira Dixon got home from work Wednesday night, the couple wasn't sure they wanted to tell the story again. It was too much, Jamira Dixon said. Inside her house, CNN waited. Outside, news trucks idled.

Fine, she finally said. She'd do it, but only to everyone at once:

It was Dec. 28, and the Dixons, their three children and a niece went to see a matinee showing of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

She had her phone on silent to text, but the light bothered Reeves, who sat nearby. Reeves went to get an usher, and the usher told Jamira Dixon to put her phone away.

Her 9-year-old son was shifting in the chair, and that bothered Reeves, too. In fact, everything seemed to bother him. Dixon said he kept glaring at her, and at one point he even followed her to the restroom. He told a man in front of him to put his phone away as well. She felt like he was trying to be the "referee of the movie theater."

At one point, he pointed at the family while talking to the usher.

"I think he wanted us to know it was him reporting us," she said.

After the movie, he sat at a table in the lobby and kept staring. His wife came up to hold his hand on the way out, Jamira Dixon said, and Reeves pushed her away.

Jamira Dixon didn't report the incident to the theater, but with all the staring Reeves did, she said his face stayed with her.

"It was disgusting the way he acted," said Michael Dixon, 38. "It's like he was looking to start a confrontation."

After learning of the shooting, Jamira Dixon called authorities to report the previous incident.

"That could've been us," she said.

Detectives came to get the Dixon's statement on Tuesday night, and returned on Wednesday.

With all the attention, Jamira Dixon said she can't focus on work. She can't sleep.

She didn't come forward to be in the spotlight. She only wanted the world to know what kind of man she saw in the movie theater that day, she said.

The Dixons say they feel terrible for Oulson's family.

"I can't imagine what they're going through," Michael Dixon said. "Losing a father and a husband like that."

   
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